I don’t condone smoking whilst holding babies. I DO condone giving a monkey a fountain ponytail.
Stand On The Right
You stand on the right or so help me god! … Look, the left lane is for high flyers, the movers and the shakers, the melody makers. You’re welcome to join us - if you’ve got the stamina. And don’t think you can pull some stunt where you walk half way and then your legs get tired so you suddenly stand stock still. You either commit to the whole climb, or you can stay with the dummies on the right.
Allow Others To Alight Before Boarding The Train
Just you dare try to barge on to a train before others have alighted. I myself, normally so meak and mild, have been known to physically restrain people who I catch having a pop at this. There’s one Chinese woman (she knows who she is) who I saw out of my peripheral trying to headless chicken her way on to a train when it wasn’t her turn, and before I even had time to think what I was doing, I had grabbed her arm and yanked her back whilst firmly hissing “Wait!” as if addressing a toddler. British people might be known for their restraint… But only until you attempt to disrupt a queueing system, then the gloves come off. And to that end…
Form A Queue
I’ll say it again in case I stuttered the first time; Form a queue.
This also can again be related back to public transport. There is a pecking order when it comes to who has ownership of any seats that become available. It is to do with proximity, and alertness. You monitor the seat, without openly salivating for it. It is natural to desire one, and to be concious of obtaining one, but it is considered crass to act overtly desperate, or be too explicit in your plotting. British people will look down on you if you behave in this way. Try looking bored, feign a yawn, and act pleasantly surprised whilst still emanating nonchalance when seats become available. Imagine a Tiger lapping water from a cool crystal clear lake; she is calm and seemingly insouciant, yet she is alert and ready to spring in to action in an instant. Channel that Tiger. We will respect you more. As a byline, there is to be no reserving of seats. It is a restrained and composed dog-eat-dog world. It’s every man for himself, and if your limpy mate hasn’t got the know-how to obtain their own seat, then they get left behind. Or you can choose to volunteer your seat to them, but frankly, that’s yo’ bizniz son.
No Loitering Or Congregating
Especially in doorways and at the bottom of escalators. We will tut at you so loud, it’ll blow your Jesus sandals right off your tanned feet. If you insist on consulting maps, use your sun addled brain and step aside out of the direct flow of pedestrian traffic.
Walk With Purpose
Maintain a quick lick speed. Walk in direct lines, no zig zagging. If you get lost, just keep moving, you’ll find something worth visiting eventually.
Whatever you think is an acceptable amount of sexual interaction to engage in whilst in public, divide it by 3 and then halve it again. Try to remember; H.H.P. - HAND HOLDING, HUGGING (fully clothed), PECKING (with closed mouths, no moistening of lips, and to be used sparingly). No doubt you hail from warmer climates where passionate behaviour is acceptable, and violently tonguing someone in front of your mother is the norm, but there’ll be none of that palaver whilst you’re in Britain thankyouverymuch. We’re not complete prudes though, behind closed doors you are allowed to engage in as much missionary position with the lights off sex as you please.
We won’t speak your language, so don’t even bother humiliating yourself by asking. If you’re too lazy to be fluent, at least learn the following phrases; Excuse me, please and thank you. Use them at all times. Even when someone has been rude or unhelpful. In Britain, a waiter can spit in our food and molest our nana’s, but if they ask if we are enjoying the meal, we say; “It’s lovely, thank you.” Don’t question it, just do it.
Do Not Interrupt
Just don’t. You’ll know when I’ve finished my sentence from the silence that follows it. Take that as your cue.
Check Your Tone
It may be customary in your country to scream affectionately at one another, or deliver platitudes of love in an irate bark, but that is not the case here. We operate an ‘inside voices’ policy. We maintain an even, steady, tone that shows we are calm, sane and in control. If you hear a British person shouting in public, they are either; insane, poor, or someone has literally just been decapitated in front of them… whatever the case, you should give that situation a wide berth. Just remember, the raising of an eyebrow is a bellow to us.
Come to think of it, they should actually just change the British citizenship test to this. I don’t care if you know who was on the throne in 1658. I DO care if you impede the flow of pedestrian traffic. I care a lot.
P.P.S But if you DID want to cast me in your innovative production of a timeless Shakespearean classic, I would totally be up for it. Haters gon’ hate, players gon’ play!
Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last blog…
Reason being, I just simply haven’t felt passionate enough about anything in that time to warrant my focusing on any singular task for longer than 5 minutes. That is… Until now. Here. Today. When THIS happened;
There are some things in life that I love. I love horses. I love food. I love wine. I love laughing. I love words. I love you (probably). But above all else, I LOVE GERI HALLIWELL.
From the very first instant my 10 year old eyes came to rest on her pint sized form, I was ensnared. This dazzling riot of colour and energy. Sheathed in sequins, teetering about maniacally on platform boots. And the crowning glory; That shock of toxic orange hair. Like the cherry on a cake. Like the angel on a Christmas tree. Like nuclear waste after an atomic bomb.
I adore her. I adore that she is liable to have a nervous breakdown, smear her naked form in Pedigree Chum, and dance like a Hare Krishna through the streets at any given moment. I adore that she has absolutely zero talent in any department, musically or otherwise, but she still managed to claw her way to the top any how. I adore that her business has always been no more, and no less, than ‘The Art Of Being Famous’. I adore that she once did a glamour shoot where she was pictured high kicking at a camera with no knickers on (when the news of this reached me through a tight network of other Super Fans around my neighbourhood, I broke out of my house WAY after my curfew and pegged it to the nearest Newsagents to witness Minge Spice with my own two peepers. I was so flabbergasted I had to buy a 10p mix while I was there to calm my nerves). I adore that she Singollers (that’s singing and hollering at the same time). I adore that she sometimes raps. I adore that she sometimes raps… In Spanish. I adore that she wrote an autobiography which spoke to my confused, hormonal, pre-pubescent, heart like a song from a choir of angels. So much so that I read it 6 times in a row, from cover to cover, without taking a break…
I did NOT adore that balmy morning on the 30th May 1998 when my 12 year old self awoke to a phone call from my Aunty telling me to turn on the news… And that unspeakable horror had happened;
Geri Quits The Spice Girls. I still can’t bring myself to type the words now! I was bereft. I fell to my knees. I shook a fist at the sky and cursed The Gods. I sobbed. “She’s broken me! I’m damaged goods and I’m not even 13 yet!”… Not only had I recently undergone a transformation that saw me suddenly become hideously FUGLY over night, but now Geri had forsaken me as well. I thought I’d never recover…
But then we started swimming classes at school. I had a lot on my plate thinking about Verucca Socks and which boys looked like they were harbouring the biggest Widge’s in their Speedo’s. The pain numbed, and before I knew it, she had released her first solo album ‘Schizophonic’! I adored both the title’s clever play on words (that was just SO Geri!), and every last track on it. I was so busy learning the dance routines to Look At Me and Bag It Up that all previous grievances were forgotten. I was utterly snowed under with running around the playground, being completely butterz, and excitedly yabbering at the speed of light about that BRIT Awards performance where she emerged from the FOOFY between those giant legs (!), that I barely had time to catch my breath. And so spun out the years of my youth.
Geri is a grafter. Geri is a trier. Geri is unhinged - All of the things that we, the British Public, have an insatiable hunger for. She was offered a one off, guest judging slot on The X Factor. But within minutes of the first day of filming, she has not only completely eclipsed every other judge and presenter there, she has also managed to buy them more tabloid inches than they’ve had since Alexandra Burke and Beyonce performed together floating atop a sea of snot and tears. And how did she achieve this? She bloody brought her own megaphone and climbed on top of a car… Of course she did! If she isn’t offered a permanent contract by the end of the day, I’ll eat my ‘Girl Power’ fan club membership card!
Honestly, there are times when I think my love for her has waned. I’m a grown up now. I’ve got a pretty good grasp on my sanity these days, and I haven’t had to wear a paper bag over my head in like, 3 years. But then she crops up on me ol’ telly again and my heart rate quickens, my palms begin to sweat, and I realise that true love is forever. I’ll never let go, Geri.
P.S Remember the Lift Me Up music video with all those little aliens? How cray cray and adorable was THAT?!
I come to you, fresh from reading an article ( http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-women-push-play-sports-155201454—spt.html) about how women in Saudi Arabia are fighting for their right… Not to equal opportunities, not to freedom of speech, not to the ownership of their own bodies, but to be allowed to play sports. Which could also be interpreted as; Fighting for their right to be healthy. Yes this is so preposterous and ridiculous that it’s almost laughable, but it is also nothing new and we’ve heard it all before.
It also came as no surprise, that when asked why it would be so horrendous if women were allowed to have a stab at wing attack in Netball, or go for a little jog round the park with their labradoodles, that the Religious Scholars once again dug in to their limitless arsenal of women hating defense and said;
“… The excessive “movement and jumping” needed in football and basketball might cause girls to tear their hymens and lose their virginity.”
Oh. Well. That makes perfect sense then. Why didn’t you just say that in the first place? … *MicroTurn*
Which got me to thinking; Our hymens are the shackles that bind us. They are the Judas’s of our own bodies. A few millimeters of mucousy waste of space that do nothing but rat us out to the boss. She’s a little grass and I for one am washing my hands of the two faced bitch.
This is a picture of an artificial Hymen that men can buy to insert in to their sex dolls - cheeky little monkeys!
Now, I hope you’re sitting down when you read this as it may come as bit of a shock, but … I do not have a medical licence. Or indeed, any concept of the intricate workings of the human form, other than knowing how to blow my own nose.
But never-the-less, my notion is thus; If we’re lopping off foreskins, and chucking out appendixes with the dirty bath water, why not while we’re at it, throw a useless little strip of pink membrane in to the mix as well?
As far as I know (which I reiterate is little) the hymen serves no purpose whatsoever within our bodies. Other than to make it that little bit easier for men to accuse us of being loosey goosey sluts. (And just to clarify, I’m saying “us” in a sort of pledge of sisterly solidarity, because I of course, was brought up in Cardiff in the 90s, not the Middle-East. The only beef my parents had with my ill advised desire to join the synchronized swimming team was that I looked like a beached whale in a one-piece. I have not suffered, but I will gladly leach off of the suffering of others.) So! What if midwives everywhere were just like; “OK enough is enough of this hullabaloo, we’ll just cut ‘um out, chuck ‘um in the incinerator and put an end to this whole nasty affair”?
From the raising of the bloodied bed sheets like a flag at full mast in the days of yore, through to female genital mutilation still being rife today, all of these blasted men’s energy goes in to preserving and ensuring this minuscule piece of membrane stays intact so that they can… Have the joy of tearing it (weirdo’s)? Make a finger puppet out of it? Use it as draft excluder? I have no idea.
If we all just pledged to yank it out (I think that’s the correct medical term) from day dot, the men would be ABSOLUTELY FUCKED! They’d be like, “Shit, that old virgin line has been working for millennia, what the fuck are we going to say now to make sure they behave themselves?!” It would also be a kindness of sorts, because if they were forced to stop thinking about the illusive virginity, they could start channelling their energies in to more useful things, such as; Taking up Zumba.
Unless men want to start taking a scapel and leaving a notch in their penis every time they dip it in to someone/thing, I really don’t think it’s cool that women should have to wear a calling card around their necks, that’s forever gobbing off about the activity that’s been going on south of the border. Mind your own business/genitals!
To sum up; Ladies, Hymens are killing our BUZZ, let’s just GET RID! If we all pledge to do away with them, men world wide would be left with their knickers round their ankles. I personally opted to give mine to my horse, Mary-Lou, aged 11, and I’ve never looked back…
A conversation that took place between myself and a delightful female bouncer at G-A-Y Late in London last night;
Kayleigh: Hello, can I come in please?
Butch: No, it’s members only.
K: Yeah, I was told by a member of staff yesterday that if I came at 10.30pm on a Sunday and brought my passport, I could sign up to become a member?
B: That is the case, but I’m not letting you sign up.
K: Oh. Just me personally? That seems a little unfair. Any reason?
B: You’re not a regular.
K: How do you know I’m not a regular?
B: Because I don’t recognize you.
K: Thousands of people come here every single night, and you’re suggesting that you can remember all of them? What are you, the Rain Man?
B: I would remember if I had seen you.
K: Well I remember seeing you my little sugar plum; short back ‘N sides, wet look gel, high-vis jacket, built like a brick shit house, scent of excess testosterone emanating from your every pore, overall demeanor of a bulldog chewing on a wasp and you give me aggro every single time I try to come here. So… Can I sign up?
B: No. As I said, become a regular then I’ll let you sign up.
K: Well we have a catch 22 situation here, because you routinely turn me away from this venue on a tri-monthly basis because I’m not a member, but when I try to become a member, you refuse me because I’m not a regular, but I can’t become a regular because you will never let me in because I’m not a member… So how do we proceed from here?
B: We have people who come here every single night, maybe start doing that, make your face known to the door staff, you could try cracking a few jokes with us so we’re more likely to get to know you…
K: “Come here every single night?” Babe, I’ve got a job. And a life.
B: Well, if you want to become a member …
K: Just to clarify, this is a building full of sweaty twinks dancing in hot pants, sipping on watered down Malibu, and doling out blow jobs in the unisex toilets, and women with rape in their eyes and knuckle dusters on their meaty fingers - not the fucking Freemasons! And I’d prefer it if you just came out and said you don’t believe I’m a lesbian because I’ve bothered to put a lick of mascara and a dress on, and that is the real reason you never want to let me in. If I was wearing a wife beater and I’d modeled my hair on P!nk’s circa 2005, we wouldn’t have a problem, would we?
B: Hang on, the door staff would never actually come out and say we don’t think a person is gay…
K: But you would think it and find a way to hold it against them?
B: Look, I’m not letting you become a member, that’s final.
K: OK, no problemo tootsie pop, I’ll take my custom to the grotty O’Neils round the corner, where they have no standards whatsoever and would be grateful to take my good money in exchange for ridiculously over priced drinks. GOOD DAY SIR!
If I was black, or disabled, this treatment would never be tolerated. But we, the feminine gays, are apparently the lowest of the low.
There was a time when women would frantically try to bury themselves in the closet behind their steel capped boots and KD Lang albums. Studiously trying to blend in with the cock gobbling females of the gen pub. But now, times they are a changing, the Clunge Mafia are out in force and up in arms, and they are taking no prisoners. Their message; Look like us and play by our rules, or jog on back to heterosexuality. All I wanna do is hang with the cool kids, but they just won’t let me play!
Anyway, next week I plan to perform random acts of cunnilingus on any willing women waiting in the queue outside G-A-Y Late, in an attempt to prove to them my eagerness to be initiated in to their big minge loving gang.
Working in this industry guarantees you two things; 1) You will become more bitter and twisted than you had ever imagined possible, and 2) You will realise that racial and cultural stereotypes are there for a reason. They are fact! Every person is predictable in the varying ways that they can be an utter cock and balls arse hole. The key for The Clerk is learning to combat their filth. As an example, I will use The Americans. However, they are by no means the only populace guilty of this behaviour. They are just the people who have offended me most since my lunch break today.
In my experience the American’s have the ability to be the best of customers, who possess the potential to completely brighten your whole day… but more often than not they are some of the worst of customers. This is all the more frustrating because you have the knowledge of what could have been. The Americans giveth, and The Americans taketh away.
Some tips of how to deal with an unruly Yank;
An American will often steadfastly refuse to acknowledge any currency other than their own;
Clerk: They are £40 each
Unruly Yank: 40 bucks?
Clerk: 40 POUNDS
Unruly Yank: Yeah sure, so 80 dollars for two right?
Clerk: Have you banged your head?
In this instance you should either; become temporarily deaf and ignore them until they realise the error of their ways and correct themselves (which is usually around the same time as hell freezes over) OR if their ignorance is so deep seated that they still don’t notice, try the patronizing parent speaking to naughty child routine “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you…?” Neither of these techniques is guaranteed to work, some people are just too far gone to be helped.
Similarly, when they refuse to understand what you mean by “Stalls” because in America they call it the “Orchestra Stalls” you should respond with a simple; “You. Are. Not. In. America.” Whilst leaning over and mini-pinching their delicate inner forearm skin to make sure they are focusing. I’ve also had this little gem on several occasions;
Clerk: OK, I’ve got very nice seats in the stalls…
Unruly Yank: (Interrupting) ”Stalls”? In America, that’s where we keep the horses?
Clerk: Well I guess it’s lucky that you’re in Britain then, where we keep horses in Stables…
You would think that they’d recall the 8 hour flight they took across the Atlantic, but often they need reminding. Simple phrases will be easier for them to digest.
And just so the Americans don’t feel victimized, let’s talk about dealing with the old and infirm (AKA “The Wrinkles”). This can be a delicate situation. You will start out in this job as a rookie, still wet behind the ears, who was brought up believing that one must respect one’s elders. Shake it off. That rule does not apply here. If a person, no matter what age, barks questions at you without so much as a Hello, Please or Thank You - DO NOT PANDER TO THEM. You are doing a service to society if you turn the acid tongue on them; “What’s the magic word…?” Being old is not an excuse for rudeness, if anything, it means they’ve had longer to learn manners – Your best bet is to humiliate them.
Below is an average conversation with a 60+ person trying to pay for tickets with a chip and pin card (And yes, the pin is always written on a post-it note stuck to the back of the card itself - Little helpless baffoons);
Wrinkle: It says “Insert card” - what should I do?! (Hands trembling)
Clerk: Insert your card.
Wrinkle: Argh! It’s saying “Enter pin”!! (Sweating profusely)
Clerk: Enter your pin.
Wrinkle: It’s saying “Please wait” - Oh God, shall I pull it out?! (On verge of soiling themselves)
Clerk: Please wait.
Wrinkle: It says “Remove card”, has something gone wrong?! (Soils themselves)
Clerk: Remove your card.
Wrinkle: (Bursts in to flames)
Clerk: Enjoy the show.
Wrinkles, particularly Wrinkles from ‘Oop North’ (you can guarantee they’ll be after either Jersey Boy or Dreamboats And Petticoats) often think it’s a good idea to try and barter with you.
Clerk: I have seats at £25 each
Mancunian Wrinkle: Right, give us 2 for £40 and I’ll pay in cash and take ‘um off yer ‘ands now ducky
Clerk: I’m sorry, were you under the impression that you’d stumbled in to a Delhi Market? You can give me £50 for the pair, and too right you’ll bloody pay in cash, I haven’t got the spirit left in me to hold your hand through a credit card payment!
Also, even though they haven’t set foot in to a theatre since they and their ramshackle snot-nosed friends piled under the stage of their local Am-Dram to wait out an Air Raid back in WW2, they will still always be the first to say; “Are you going to try and sit us ‘Up In The Gods’? Way up high ‘In The Nosebleeds’? Cos we aint sitting up there!” - Shhh now, time for a nap. Oh and one more parting shot;
Clerk: Tickets are £32, reduced down from £60
Wrinkle: The sign outside says ‘Half Price’ that aint half price!
Clerk: You might want to pop your readers on love, the sign outside says ‘Half Price And Discounted Tickets’. That aside, if you are intent on quibbling over £2, I suggest you take your business to someone who isn’t in the middle of iPlayering Eastenders.
Dear, dear, Americans and Wrinkles, it’s not that I dislike you. In a social setting I would be the first to seek out your company. I’d be lapping up your entertaining ways like a cat at a bowl of cream. And by god, if you are OLD and from NEW YORK and ideally JEWISH, you are literally my brand new B.F.F for life. But when we’re in a Discount Ticket Booth… it’s open War Fare, Old Chum.
As an ever increasing number of hardworking Box Office Clerks are being driven to suicide, sectioned for insanity and imprisoned for GBH – I have decided to compile a brief guide outlining a few handy tips and techniques that will help The Clerk maintain their dignity, sanity and sense of self worth. This guide is the result of copious amounts of research. All of the information featured here has been garnered during my 4 years working on the front line.
Lesson 1: BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE, Part 1.
On paper, your job is to sell theatre tickets. In reality, your job is to wade through a fuck storm of flying fuckery, and an incessant tirade of abuse for 8 hours a day, every day, and hopefully come out at the other end without any criminal convictions (no new ones at least). This profession is very similar to Fire Fighting, if you replace the fires with a barrage of shit, and you replace the water hoses with Passive Aggression - This is the first method of defence in your arsenal. Small victories is how we win The War.
To begin, you may very well be sat in a shop that is aglow with gaudy neon signs and posters advertising various Musical Theatre shows, but if you think this will make you immune to the Completely Random Non-Theatre Related Information Seekers (CRNTRIS), IT WON’T! If anything, you are the flame and they are the moths. They are drawn to you like flies to shit. Like Katie Price to men-who-are-scrubs. Like Gypsies to Bar Brawls.
I’ve had it all in my time. From your bog standard “Where can I get me some Fried Chicken, bitch?” to “What time is the next Eurostar to Brussels?” to “How much do I have to pay you to sit on my cock?” (Pay me? Why would a Dream Boat Stud Muffin Gentleman like you ever need to pay?!) … Joyous. By all means, you can attempt the method of “We sell theatre tickets, we’re not a Tourist Information! Why don’t you just DIE!” but invariably this only leads to you then drawing a map to direct them to the actual Tourist Information booth in an attempt to; Get Them Out Of The Shop By Whatever Means Necessary (A lesson we will be covering at a later date). Tragically, it is usually less painful in the long run if you just give them the information they require as succinctly and quickly as possible and let them be on their grimy, filthy way, scattering a trail of scabs and scum wherever they tread. Our Small Victory in this instance will be; for every 3rd direction asked, send the CRNTRIS in the absolute, bastarding, wrong direction. If they want to know where The National Portrait Gallery is, tell them to get on a First Great Western train to Burnham-On-Sea. If they are looking for the nearest Rent-A-Hooker, send them to the local Police Station, and tell them priority is given to people who know the secret password; “I am a Pervert and I should be locked up”. It’s hilarity abound … And it’s One - Nil to The Clerk. I thank you.
Occasionally, these CRNTRIS’s will push to the front of the queue, interrupt you mid-sentence as you deal with a genuine customer, and spew some bile (question) in your face. Everyone knows it is a mortal sin to jump a queue in Britain. And interrupting people is a quick way of going about getting yourself murdered. So, in this situation you firstly give an icy glare, it should last around 8 seconds, be careful not to blink or break eye contact. You then say, in the most disparaging tone you can muster, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to finish my sentence”… Let some more silence hang in the air to make things more awkward than a miscarriage. Finish your sentence, then turn back to Public Enemy Number 1 and give them the information they seek in a withering tone (I strongly advise you to misdirect them). Then when they leave without thanking you (which trust me, they won’t) you shout – and pay attention because this part is important – “YOU’RE WELCOME!” Then slowly shake your head as if you’re despairing at the world, which will then serve as a reminder to the rest of the queue that you mean business. If my maths is correct, I believe that makes it Two - Nil to The Clerk. We’re on a roll.
This, my Fans, is just the tip of the iceburg. Watch this space for Part 2…